Does The Library Of Congress Save Every Tweet? Not Anymore - Here's Why

Posted December 29, 2017

Twitter has changed - more picture- and video-based communication (LOC only collects text) and the rollout of 280 character tweets are just two examples of what's evolved over the past 12 years. Instead, starting on January 1, the Library will be more selective about what tweets to preserve, a decision it explained in a white paper.

Twitter has come a long way since one of its founders, Mr Jack Dorsey, posted the first tweet on March 21, 2006.

The Library of Congress is going to start being more selective about which tweets it decides to save in its archives.

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The library in 2010 began its tweet archive after receiving a "gift" from Twitter of the full database of public tweets dating from the first tweet in 2006, but has not determined when or how to make this public. So when the Library had the opportunity to acquire an archive from the popular social media service Twitter, we decided this was a collection that should be here.

The US Library of Congress will no longer archive every tweet posted publicly on Twitter after 31 December.

Since then, it continued to collect every single public tweet posted on the platform. It's a little unclear, but the library says it will collect tweets that are "thematic and event-based, including events such as elections, or themes of ongoing national interest, e.g. public policy".

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According to Politico, Villa claims was circulating at the party when a friend brought her over to introduce her to Lewandowski. Villa also tweeted a picture of the two posing "seconds before he slapped my ass" along with a link of the Politico article.

The Library only receives text from tweets - not images or videos or links.

"Social media is not 'too big to moderate;' it takes time, money, and resources to effectively manage social media content". Having all tweets also captures the response of average people to historic events; the white paper points to the collection of recordings of interviews made in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack as being similarly valuable. "With social media now established, the Library is bringing its collecting practice more in line with its collection policies." the Library said in a statement.

So when will future historians get to dig into the vast Twitter archive now being held by the U.S. government?

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That doesn't mean the librarians think that the preservation of every tweet for more than a decade wasn't valuable. In the meantime, the LOC still hasn't decided how best to provide the public with access to all the tweets it now has. They even went out of their way in preserving everyone's Tweets for future generations. "Future generations will learn much about this rich period in our history, the information flows, and social and political forces that help define the current generation".